April 15, 2012

Sherlock Jr. (1924) - IMDB #206

Sherlock Jr.//1924//45 Min.//Comedy

"Be careful, one of us could get hurt."

I was weary of throwing on Sherlock Jr., for the fact that it is a silent film.  The only exposure that I've had to silent film is The Artist, which I thought was enjoyable, but overrated.  That being said, Sherlock Jr. blew me away.

The comedy in this movie is hilarious, and the fact that Buster Keaton didn't need words to do it makes it that much more impressive.  Certain scenes are constructed so well that it's unbelievable thinking about the chemistry behind them - no CGI, no wire work, no stuntmen...just Buster and his camera.  I was reading afterward that he actually broke his neck during one stunt...crazy.

The basic premise of this movie is that Buster is accused of stealing his girlfriend's father's watch (an act which he is framed for).  He then falls asleep at his projectionist job and imagines himself as the worlds greatest detective, Sherlock Jr. - tailing the same man who set him up in the real world for a pearl necklace.

The timing is impeccable, the comedy is just laugh out loud funny, and I had to watch several scenes all over again just to try and figure out how the hell they did them.  Plus, it's only 45 minutes, which means you don't have to dedicate a lot of time to it.

My score: 9/10 (IMDB Score: 8.3/10)

March 22, 2012

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2011) - IMDB #247

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within//2011//115 Min.//Drama, Crime

Brazil - Your Vacation Spot

I had heard about the original Elite Squad in 2007 and never got around to seeing it. I was then reminded of it once it's newer counterpart, The Enemy Within hit the streaming circuit. I heard that this title was absolutely watchable as a stand alone movie, but has more emotional impact if the first is seen first.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see the first, but look forward to my eventual viewing.

ES: TEW takes us through the politics and corruption that lies within the law enforcement of Rio.  There are a lot of characters to keep track of, so you'll need to pay attention. The actor who played Nascimento did an excellent job as a former BOPE captain trying to play things straight in a sea of corruption.  The supporting cast was also excellent.

Don't let the poster fool you - this is not a cross between The Departed and the Godfather, but it does stand well on it's own merits.  It did feel long at times, but in the end, it's well worth it.  There are things in there for the action fan and the drama queen alike.  Apparently, this kind of thing is prevalent in the slums of Rio - not the place you want to get mixed in with the local law enforcement.

I liked this well constructed movie.  I don't think I will feel the need to watch it again for a while, but I did like it.

My score: 7/10 (IMDB Score: 8.2/10)

Update - 2012

Update time...

Since Shaun and I stopped living together, the contest had kind of...fallen apart - understandably so.  Life events forced us to go our separate ways.  I ended up getting married, he ended up getting engaged, and the mission went to the back burner.

I really feel like I still need to get this list done.  Think of it as my 'bucket list' of film.  Shaun won't be watching these with me, but my wife will be watching a few - she won't post her thoughts, but I'll probably include them with my commentary.

In it's first iteration, we caught a lot of heat from those I like to call 'film elitists' for hating a movie like The Graduate and loving a movie like Platoon.  To you, I say...different strokes for different folks.  If you don't like my taste in movies, I don't care.  That's part of the reason why I'm watching many of the so-called 'classics' for the first time - to gain that appreciation.  Yes, I have movies like Con Air & Transformers in my film collection right now...but I also have The Godfather and Seven Samurai.  Go ahead and judge me, that's why there's a comments section.

Regardless, I'm starting this bad boy up again.  Let's see how far I can get.

August 11, 2009

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) - IMDB #94

Pan's Labyrinth//2006//120 Min.//Color//Fantasy

When I originally watched Pan's Labyrinth (this was my second watch), I had heard it was good, but that's about all I had heard. I thought that it was a kid's adventure film, because of the cover and title. I didn't know that it was subtitled (which didn't make a difference). I still thought it was a kid's adventure film until the moment that a guy gets his face bloodily smashed in by a general.

Fantastic movie. The special effects in this film are spectacular. Guillermo Del Toro is one of the premier special effects directors in the business right now. The costume design, the characters, they're all outstanding and should not be missed.

If you haven't seen this movie, do so. It's a great fantasy adventure for adults. It's touching, it's freaky, it's everything that it should be. Recommended.

9/10 (IMDB has it rated as an 8.5)

August 7, 2009

Strangers On A Train (1951) - IMDB #110

Strangers On A Train//1951//101 Min.//B&W//Suspense

My theory is that everyone is a potential murderer...

This was a nice surprise. I've seen hundreds of movies, but had never seen an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I figured that I would knock one out of the way before work.

Take note, 21st century directors...this is the way suspense should be handled (I knew there was a reason he was called 'The Master'). The villain, played by Robert Walker, is scary because you actually believe he's as crazy as he is cunning. A charming nutjob with 'mommy and daddy' issues (a recurring theme from Hitchcock movies, I believe)...the scene where he's tailing his 'first victim' is suspense at it's finest. The movie loses a bit of steam in the middle, but then fires right back up for the conclusion, which was great, and must have been 'big budget' at the time.

I'm definitely looking forward to more Hitchcock movies. I would recommend this to anyone looking to see suspense done 'right', as opposed to the movies we see in theaters now (Saw, Hostel, etc.). This is much scarier.

8/10 (IMDB has it rated 8.3 out of 10)

August 4, 2009

Casablanca (1942) - IMDB #11

Casablanca//1942//102 Min.//B&W//Drama

Hell hath no fury like a man scorned...

Casablanca was a nice surprise for me. I wasn't looking forward to it, mostly because I hadn't heard much about it except that it was one of the all time greats. It doesn't stack up as one of my personal all time greats, but it's definitely worth a watch.

Humphrey Bogart's character is the one that really won me over. Someone who had been hurt by a woman long ago and carried the grudge with him throughout his days. He had several lines that were very funny also, which is a change for most older movies for me. The supporting characters were sufficient, although I wasn't real impressed with Bergman's Ilsa, whose acting just didn't seem up to par with everyone else.

The ending was...expected, but the story was very well written. I would recommend this to movie lovers, if only for Bogart's performance as Rick.

7/10 (IMDB has it rated 8.8 out of 10).

July 29, 2009

Platoon (1986) - IMDB #143

Platoon//1986//120 Min.//Color//War

Dinks & Cheesedicks. This is 'Nam.

I have seen Platoon many, many times, so when Shaun said he wanted to knock it off of the list, I was more than eager to sit through it again. War movies are one of my favorite genres, and Platoon is near the top of the list.

Everything about this movie is stellar. It deserved, and won Best Picture and Best Director at the 1986 Acadamy Awards (with competition from...Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission, and A Room With a View?).

It's about a war...not a war with the enemy, but the war within ourselves as human beings. We watch as a 'green' is dropped into the middle of hell on Earth, and is forced to grow up faster in one year than he had his whole life up to the point he got off of the chopper and into the bush. We see a truly scary 'villain' - one who you really believe thinks that what he's doing is just...and if that means killing every single seemingly innocent person in a small village, that's what he'll do. We see all of the other strands, trying to keep the team, and our country, together.

The score is excellent. The cinematography is remarkable, even to today's standards. The story is immaculate. The dialogue is believable. The acting is fantastic. The cast is impeccable - Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Depp in his first role, and Dr. Cox from Scrubs...the list never ends.

If you haven't seen Platoon yet, see it. Easily recommended.

As King says, "Keep your pecker hard and your powder dry, and the world will turn."

10/10 (IMDB rates it an 8.2/10)

- Kleeberg